Now it’s same old mistruths

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The same old chestnuts .. (C Moran 5 July 2011 09:04)

The letter from Mr Moran should have been entitled “The same old mistruths”.

The UK has the lowest debt as a % of GDP of all G7 countries (US, Canada, Germany, UK, Japan, Italy, France). Most of it (70 to 80%), not owed to foreign financiers but to UK financial institutions.

Fortunately UK borrowing is long term and not subject to the speculative pressures that plague Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

When you strip out the cost of bailing out the Banks at a cost of £850 Million our debt ratio is 60.1% as against 194% for Japan and USA 71%, Germany 78%. Thus the debt burden is neither unsustainable nor out of line with comparable nations and historically lower during the period 2000 to 2008 than at any time since the 1960’s. Government debt was over 100% of GDP from 1920 to 1960.

The debt burden we face is not a consequence of what Mr. Moran calls Labour Government profligacy it is a consequence of the Economic Recession (lower tax receipts plus higher spending on unemployment benefits). This recession is, as Mr. Moran may come to recognise, not confined to the UK and since 2008 the UK (and many other states) have seen their tax receipts from stamp duty and income tax badly hit by this worldwide recession.

The bile, which Mr. Moran piles upon Teachers and their action to protect their pensions, is unjustified. Both their direct contribution and their employer’s contribution are in fact deferred earnings.

Most of them, with the exception of the highest paid Heads of large schools, joined the profession knowing that they would not be in receipt of high salaries, they did regard the promise of an index linked pension as an important part of the package.

They are not being asked to pay a bit more and work a bit longer Mr Moran. They are being told that they will have to pay up to 50% more and work up-to 8 years longer.

Following these unilateral announcements they will get 25% less pension than the figure they were assuming. These are not minor changes Mr. Moran.

The Government has made its choice on key parts of its policy to reduce the deficit; it is determined to reduce the lifetime earnings of the whole public sector.

In the case of Teachers it is taking a gamble that loyal, long serving public sector workers will knuckle under the pressure, in part because they are precisely not the mindless militants they are being painted.

Mr. Maude a Government Minister says it is all about fairness, “that we are all in this together”.

Well of course we are not all in it with the same protection. He claimed (I assume correctly under the rules) for £35,000 to cover two years interest on his mortgage, yet many new teachers cannot get a mortgage. He has an MP’s pension plan that gives £24,000 after just 15 years, how many teachers would settle for that? The Cabinet of 29 members includes 23 people who are millionaires (some many times over).

Somehow ‘all being in it together’ has a different ring to it when you are in a millionaires club.

Joe Mitchell

Calderdale Trades Council